I don't think that many of my students realize it: the power they have to make or break my day. I try not to let them have that kind of power over me, but as a teacher, I want so desperately to be an effective, inspiring, excellent teacher and I often let the reactions and comments of my students determine whether I've succeeded at that or not. Can any other teachers identify?
How do you feel when you ask a student to play through a certain passage again, only to sense their resistance to your suggestion through body language or even a spoken comment. Does your sense of worth sink when a student asks "How much time do we have left?" in that hopeful tone that suggests they'd rather be anywhere than on the bench, or react to the end of the lesson with a comment like, "Oh, good!" or "Yay!"
I've experienced these, and many more scenarios that, if I allow them, make me feel like an ineffective, uninspiring teacher. Words can hurt. Children often lack that sense of tactfulness that makes those of us who are more 'mature' think before we speak. The results, as I'm sure you know, can be some pretty honest comments! ;)
But if that's true for the negatives, it's also true for the positives. There's nothing like the smile that breaks over a student's face when they finally experience success over a tricky passage in their music. It's hard to beat the excitement and enthusiasm of an especially hard worker who comes to a lesson barely able to contain the excitement to share what he's learned that week. The little smiles and giggles that break out when we're goofing off a bit during lessons bring a sense of warmth and joy to my heart that make all the negative comments easier to bear. Like yesterday evening, when a student commented in the middle of the lesson, "You're fun!" After a long afternoon/evening of lessons, that comment had the power to give me the extra boost of energy I needed to finish out on a positive note.
There will be days of disappointment in any job, but, in my mind, the rewards of being a teacher and hearing those little words that warm the heart make it all so worthwhile!
Have you experienced encouragement from your students recently?